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U-Haul Crash Escalates to Fatal Shooting in Florida After Neighbor Dispute: Police

U-Haul Crash Escalates to Fatal Shooting in Florida: Police
Source: Hillsborough County Sheriff's Office; Unsplash

Christian Freebourn was moving into a new residence when the incident took place, officials said.

Jul. 1 2024, Published 3:00 a.m. ET

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A Florida man backed a U-Haul truck into the home of a man who was about to be his new next door neighbor, which led to a disagreement that ended with the new neighbor fatally shot, RadarOnline.com has learned.

According to an arrest affidavit obtained by the Tampa Bay Times, deputies responded to a shooting call at a townhome community in Lithia around 9:40 p.m. on May 10, and found 57-year-old Herbert Harris on the ground with gunshot wounds near the driveway of his townhome, Front Page Detectives reported. Harris died at the scene.

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U-Haul Crash Escalates to Fatal Shooting in Florida: Police
Source: UNSPLASH

An argument between two neighbors allegedly led to the fatal shooting of one man, police said.

An autopsy showed Harris had five gunshot wounds: one in the eye, two in the neck, one in the upper chest and one in the leg, the affidavit states.

Harris’ girlfriend told police she and Harris were inside their home when they heard a loud bang. They looked out the window and saw the balcony of their home had been hit by a U-Haul truck.

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The roosters were reportedly supposed to be re-homed to animal sanctuaries, officials said.

They went outside and spotted 28-year-old Christian Gage Freebourn and his brother. The girlfriend said Harris and Freebourn got into an argument and Freebourn lifted his shirt and flashed a gun that was in his waistband, officials said.

The girlfriend said she went inside to grab her phone and while she was headed back, she heard three gunshots. She then found Harris on the ground and Freebourn standing in front of the U-Haul truck with the gun exposed in his waistband.

When Freebourn talked with police, he said he was moving into his new home and accidentally hit the neighbor’s balcony with the U-Haul. That is when Harris and his girlfriend came out of their home and Harris told him he would have to pay for the damages, the affidavit states.

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Freebourn claimed he told Harris he would do so, but Harris continued to argue with him. The suspect told Harris to go back inside and Harris allegedly replied, “Make me.” Freebourn said he took a step back and told Harris, “Please don’t do this, I have a firearm. I have a concealed weapons permit. I don’t want to do this.”

Harris reportedly told Freebourn he had a gun too, but Freebourn said he wasn’t sure if he had it on him at that time or he just had one in his house. He said Harris kept stepping towards him and he responded by drawing his gun and allegedly shooting Harris three to four times, authorities said.

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Police received digital evidence from a witness, which reportedly showing that Owens received money and drugs to commit the murder, police said.

Freebourn told authorities that he previously injured himself during jiu-jitsu training and the size difference between him and the victim made him fear the victim would take his firearm. However, he never advised police that he was in fear for his life due to the victim’s alleged actions, the affidavit states.

Freebourn’s brother, who is 13 years old, told police that the argument between his brother and Harris escalated and his brother told Harris to go back inside. Freebourn then told his brother to get in the U-Haul truck, which he did. He said he heard several seconds of silence followed by four gunshots, but he couldn’t see the shooting from inside the truck.

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The brother told police that he never heard Harris say anything about having a gun.

On June 21, Freebourn was arrested and charged with second-degree murder, about six weeks after Harris' fatal shooting, police said.

Freebourn was booked into the Falkenburg Road jail and a judge set his bond at $90,000 and ordered him to wear a GPS monitor and not travel outside of Florida if released. Prosecutors had wanted him to remain in jail, claiming he is a danger to the community.

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